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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

The Mystics are a doo-wop group from Brooklyn, NY. The group’s biggest hit, “Hushabye,” climbed the charts in 1959, a disc called by critics “one of those perfect records” which exemplifies the doo-wop genre.

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Al Contrera, an original member of The Mystics, and asked him about his musical childhood, his rise to fame with the group, his work with several notable singers, and what he’s been up to lately.

Spotlight Central: You’re from Brooklyn, NY. Did you grow up in a musical family?

Al Contrera: No, not at all. No one in my family was musical, in any sense of the word, except my mother and father did play music all the time in the house. But that’s really as far as it went — they played records — 78s. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

The Lettermen are a world-renowned pop vocal trio founded in 1959. The group has recorded over 75 albums including two Top 10 pop singles, 16 Top 10 Adult Contemporary singles, and 18 international gold records. Vocalist Donovan Tea joined The Lettermen in 1984 and, next to now-retired founding member Tony Butala, is the longest-tenured member of the group.

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Donovan Tea and asked him about his musical childhood, his performances with various stars of the stage and screen, his work with The Lettermen, and what he’s been up to these days. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

“The Godfather of The Twist,” Joey Dee, took the world by storm in 1962 when he and his band, the Starliters, released their #1 hit, “Peppermint Twist.” Since then, Dee has sold millions of records, in addition to appearing on television, in movies, and in live concerts all over the world.

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Joey Dee, who shared insight into his childhood as a budding musician, recounted his rise to fame with Joey Dee and the Starliters, and filled us in on highlights of his six-decade-long career in the music business. …


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By Spotlight Central

Orleans was formed in Woodstock, NY by guitarist John Hall, guitarist/keyboardist Larry Hoppen, drummer Wells Kelly, and bassist Lance Hoppen. The group went on to achieve lasting fame with such memorable hits as 1975’s “Dance with Me” and 1976’s “Still the One,” both co-written by Hall.

Spotlight Central recently caught up with John Hall and asked him about his musical childhood, his early years as a musician, his rise to fame with Orleans, and his work with Musicians United for Safe Energy, not to mention what he’s been up to these days.

Spotlight Central: You were born in Baltimore and raised in Elmira, NY. Were either of your parents musical? …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Gary Talley is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and founding member of The Box Tops, the blue-eyed soul group from Memphis which scored in the late 1960’s with hits like “Cry Like a Baby,” “Soul Deep,” and “The Letter.”

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Talley and talked with him about his musical childhood, his work with The Box Tops, his career as a musician, and what he’s been up to lately.

Spotlight Central: You were born in Memphis, Tennessee. We understand both of your parents were musical. Can you tell us about them?

Gary Talley: Yeah, my mother played piano and organ. She played in church, so every time I went to church, my mom was the one playing the keyboards. My mom and my dad both sang, and my dad also played guitar. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Berry Duane Oakley is the talented bassist for The Allman Betts Band, a group which plays an eclectic mix of rock, blues, country, folk, vintage R&B, jazz, and soul. Of the seven musicians who comprise the ensemble, three are the sons of original members of The Allman Brothers Band. Devon Allman is the son of vocalist/keyboardist Gregg Allman, Duane Betts is the son of guitarist Dickey Betts, and Berry Duane Oakley is the son of The Allman Brothers’ bassist Berry Oakley. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

The Classics IV enjoyed pop music success in the 1960s with million-selling records including “Traces,” “Spooky,” and “Stormy.” In 2008, lead singer Dennis Yost passed away, but before he died, he hand picked vocalist Tom Garrett to carry on the legacy of the group.

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Garrett and talked with him about his musical upbringing, his connection to Dennis Yost, in addition to his work with The Classics IV.

Spotlight Central: We understand that, originally, you’re a “Jersey Boy”?

Tom Garrett: Yes, I started out as a small child in New Jersey. I was born in Perth Amboy, and lived in Newark and Elizabeth. When I was seven years old, though, we moved to Saint Louis, which is where I grew up. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Cynthia Sayer is an award-winning instrumentalist, vocalist, and bandleader. While proficient on several musical instruments, Sayer is considered one of the world’s top 4-string jazz banjo players. Her latest album is entitled Joyride.

Spotlight Central recently talked to Sayer about her musical childhood, her work as a professional jazz musician, and what she’s been up to these days.

Spotlight Central: You were born in Waltham, MA, and spent your early childhood years in Wayland, MA, then in Swampscott, MA, before your family moved to Scotch Plains, NJ. Were either of your parents musical?

Cynthia Sayer: My dad was sort of the ultimate music lover but, no, he didn’t do anything musical. Aside from his work as a businessman, he was an artist — a painter and photographer — so the art world was his big passion. My mom was an amateur vocalist and still is. She was involved in various choirs and choral groups, and they did concerts and sometimes competitions. She has always been very shy about her singing — I’ve actually never heard her sing by herself; I’ve only heard her sing with others! …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Bob Miranda is a singer/songwriter best known as a founding member of the ’60s pop vocal group, The Happenings. Between 1966 and 1968, he and the group had nine Billboard Hot 100 singles including their signature song, “See You in September.”

Spotlight Central recently caught up with Bob Miranda and asked him about his musical background, his rise to fame with The Happenings, and what he’s been up to these days.

Spotlight Central: We understand you’re from Paterson, NJ. Did you grow up in a musical family?

Bob Miranda: No, not really. I was born in Paterson and I lived in Totowa, but I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house next door where I was glued to the big old Philco radio. That’s how all the standards from the ’40s and the ’50s got ingrained in me. …


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By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

Gary Puckett & The Union Gap was one of the most successful musical groups of the 1960s. Thanks to Puckett’s signature vocal style, the group garnered six consecutive gold records with such memorable hits as “Young Girl,” “Woman Woman,” “Lady Willpower,” “This Girl is a Woman Now,” and “Over You.”

Spotlight Central recently had a chance to chat with Gary Puckett about his musical childhood; his rise to fame with the Union Gap; his latest album, Gary Puckett Love Songs; and what he’s currently been up to.

Spotlight Central: You were born in Hibbing, Minnesota — the childhood hometown of Bob Dylan — and you grew up in Yakima, Washington. We understand your parents were musical. Can you tell us a bit about them? …

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